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Foremost Farms USA, headquartered in Baraboo, Wis., is a farmer-owned cooperative and dairy processor. Their members’ farms are located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. This cooperative manufactures raw milk into cheese, butter, and a variety of whey ingredients, a byproduct of cheesemaking. Foremost Farms’ Director of Communications & Brand Management, Joan Behr, attributes part of the cooperative’s success to unique advantages in this region of the world not often found elsewhere. Good weather and fertile land that produces forage and healthy grains to feed cattle, combined with a solid infrastructure, allow the dairy farms of this region to produce delicious and nutritious milk.
In the last five years, Foremost Farms has noticed steady growth in demand for cheese, butter, and whey products – particularly pharmaceutical lactose -- from overseas buyers. Countries like Mexico, China, Japan, and other Asian countries value Foremost® whey products. Foremost Farms is also finding that its cheese is becoming increasingly popular in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Ms. Behr states that the cooperative has great hopes for future international sales as more people outside the U.S. are exposed to American foods and dairy products.
“The U.S. dairy industry is certainly benefiting from increased global demand for our dairy products. As the world becomes more globally connected, people are accessing foods outside their culture,” said Ms. Behr. “As people are becoming acquainted with U.S. dairy products, they increasingly want to incorporate our products into their diets, which means these products must be accessible on supermarket shelves around the world on a reliable basis. Foremost is working to be a consistent supplier of dairy products not only domestically but internationally. This will allow us to be competitive in the world marketplace.”
More export opportunities means market access for our farms here in the U.S. For example, Foremost Farms’ success abroad has allowed the company to modernize dairy plant operations, which in turn provides long-term market stability for their farmer-members.
“Foremost Farms’ success depends on providing long-term market access for our farms. We realize that the growth of Foremost Farms will come from worldwide demand, so we are taking steps now to be the supplier that foreign buyers turn to for safe, quality products,” says Ms. Behr.
Foremost Farms’ success is just one story that motivates USTR in our efforts to provide more export opportunities for America’s agricultural businesses. That’s why the Obama Administration launched the National Export Initiative, because exports are and will continue to be an important part of growing America’s economy.